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Viral Load Uncertainty
Oct 10, 2000

I found out I was HIV+ when I was 7 months pregnant. They tested my viral load and it was 332. They convinced me to go on medication even though they said infection to my baby would be low because of the low number load. I agreed in which they put me on combivir and viramune. I stopped the medication when my son was born. A month later my load was tested again and this time my count was 1800. I want to know how could my load shoot up like that and did I put my baby at more risk since the drug aggravated my HIV and made it take revenge by increasing instead of decreasing.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

You don't indicate whether your baby was born HIV positive or negative. I hope the latter. The greatest risk for transmission is felt to be during the peripartum period (the time immediately before and after birth). Hopefully your viral load was suppressed to undetectable levels during your last trimester. It is not uncommon to see the viral load go up after stopping HIV therapy. It would not be unusual for the viral load to go up after the "stress" of pregnancy. Many things can affect the viral load (like other infections or medical issues, medications, recreational drugs, among others).

MH



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